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HIST 3210 Slavery in the Americas-Roth (Special Collections): Research Help and How-tos

Accessing Your Special Collections Research Account

Requesting Materials from Special Collections

Materials housed in the special collections at UGA encompass a wide range of formats, condition, ages, and means of access. This means that there are some rules in regulations in place for accessing and using these materials that are different from the those which govern access to and use of materials in the general collections of the library or via the Internet. In general, the policies governing special collections materials balance the need to protect materials that may be one-of-a-kind and fragile and the need to share these amazing materials with the public. Another important distinction between access to special collections materials in archives and access materials in general library collections is that it is helpful and sometimes essential to have some assistance from special collections staff to learn about how best to search and browse for materials. Staff working at the reference desk on the third floor of the special collections building are delighted to work with researchers of all levels and interests so don't be afraid to ask for help. 

How to Request  Materials from Special Collections

Searching and Using Newspapers on Microfilm

Newspapers published after 1923 are subject to copyright and are therefore rarely digitized and made accessible by nonprofit digitization programs like the Digital Library of Georgia. Some newspapers do make their back issues available to educational venues like public libraries, colleges, and universities through subscription based access. for example, here at UGA, affiliated users may access the Atlanta Journal Constitution  and New York Times as databases on Galileo. Another database available to UGA affiliated users, LexisNexis provides access to many newspaper sources beginning in the early 1980s.  To find newspapers sources from 1923- the early 1980s that aren't available via a subscription database, researchers will need to look at microfilm.  

Most major newspapers in Georgia are available on microfilm and some large newspapers from other places in the U.S. and abroad are also available.  If you can't find microfilm for a newspaper at UGA you can request it through the Interlibrary Loan Department. 

Getting Started with Searching for Georgia Newspapers on Microfilm

If you know the name of the newspaper you want to view, go to GIL and type the title into the search box.  This will give you the call number you need to locate the reels of microfilm you want in the UGA Main Library Basement where the microfilm is stored.

If you don't know the name of the newspaper, you can consult The Georgia Newspaper Project's database of cities in Georgia which will list all newspaper holdings for each city. Once you find the newspaper title, you can return to GIL search for the title to obtain the call number for the reel(s). 

Locating Microfilm Reels in the Basement of the Main Library

Microfilm reels reside in filing cabinets and are organized by call numbers, much the way that books are organized on the shelves in the Library.  Look for the cabinet and drawer that corresponds to the call number for your newspaper and open the drawer.

Open the drawer and find the reel with the date range you want to view.

Take the reel over to one of the microfilm readers located just around the corner from the elevator and the stairs and follow the instructions for loading the reel on to the machine.

These nifty machines will allow you to copy articles and print, download, or email them to yourself.   If you need help with using the machines, just ask the nice folks at the Media Service Desk located next to the elevator and stairs in the basement.  if you need help with locating a newspaper on microfilm via Gil, visit the reference on the first floor of the Main Library.

When you finish using microfilm, please return the reel(s) to the box for refiling.

Primary Vs. Secondary Sources

Get Research Help

General Help (How to request materials)

Russell Library archivists are available to assist you during the open hours of the Russell Library: Monday-Friday 8-4:45 p.m.

Specific Help (Research assistance for your project)

If you want to meet with Jill Severn (Russell Library),  you can come by during  office hours on Monday afternoons from 1-4 p.m. at the reference desk on the 3rd floor of the Special Collections Building. If want to meet at another time, contact her at  (Please allow 24 hours for a response.) 

 If you want to meet with Chuck Barber (Hargrett Library), contact him at to make an appointment. (Please allow 24 hours for a response.) 

 If you want to meet with Mary Miller (Brown Media Archives), contact her at mlmiller (Please allow 24 hours for a response.) 

Citation Help

Assistance with citations:

If you have questions about citing materials from the Russell Library ask the archivist on duty in the reading room for assistance.

Citation management software: Endnote and Refworks. Collect citations from GALILEO databases, add them to your papers, and automatically format your bibliography.